Dr. Warner is a husband, father of three, and former high school band director. He holds a Ph.D. in Music Education and was a professional trumpet player. Following a left hip injury, Dr. Warner went to the hospital for a hip surgery. He was placed under anesthesia. Next thing he knew, he woke up in immense pain. Hospital staff told him that the surgical table collapsed while he was unconscious, sending him crashing headfirst to the floor. He later came to believe the table was improperly assembled by hospital staff. As a result, Dr. Warner, his family’s primary breadwinner, was forced to retire from teaching and playing music due to seizures, nerve damage, and injuries to his facial muscles, neck, and shoulders suffered in the fall.
Dr. Warner hired an attorney to file a medical malpractice case and pursue compensation from the hospital. His medical bills and lost wages totaled over seven figures, and his pain and suffering were immense and provable. However, despite clear liability and significant damages, Dr. Warner never received a dime for his injuries. Why? His attorney incorrectly pled ordinary negligence and filed a complaint without an expert affidavit one day before the statute of limitations expired. As a result, Dr. Warner was barred from pursuing a professional negligence claim against the hospital. His attorney then voluntarily dismissed and refiled Dr. Warner’s renewal action as a professional negligence case with an expert affidavit, despite the court’s previous order barring this claim. Unsurprisingly, the court granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment against him. To make matters worse, his attorney was uninsured. As a result, Dr. Warner was left with no adequate source of recovery to compensate him for these career-ending, permanent injuries.
A license to practice law grants the privilege of authorizing a lawyer to represent clients in some of the most important matters of their lives. It should also come with the responsibility of protecting clients from their mistakes.
Please join me in strongly urging the Board of Governors of the State Bar of Georgia to vote in favor of mandatory professional liability insurance this Saturday to protect clients like James Warner and the many others who are victims of negligent, uninsured lawyers.